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His legacy
Bye Bye Birdie  



 At the request of Jenny McMenomy, The Galena Players production of Bye Bye Birdie was dedicated to her cousin Keith.

Galena High School is located in Reno, Nevada where Jenny is a senior, and will graduate this year.  She played the part of Mrs. MacAfee in the production.

  The dates of the performances April 27, 28, 29
 and May 4 and 5th, 2006

Printed in the program for this production;
 "This show is dedicated to the memory of Keith Pittser for a lifetime of Inspiration"

Thank you Jenny!  We know that Keith is very proud of you and your contributions to the Drama Department of Galena High School.
  With your dedication to him through this play,
 his memory and legacy lives on.

Much Love From,
The Pittser Family


Modesto Bee Newspaper artical Published 11-27-05  
Turlock High theater set designer, writer, director Pittser dies at 41

By CHRISTINA SALERNO
BEE STAFF WRITER
Last Updated: November 27, 2005, 08:11:16 AM PST

Keith Warren Pittser, a longtime fixture in the Turlock theater scene, died Thursday at Brandel Manor in Turlock of cancer. He was 41.

Pittser volunteered for nine years as the set designer for the Turlock High School drama department, where he taught students about set production, decoration, lighting and sound.

He helped design three shows that won top recognition at the annual Lenaea Festival, a drama festival and competition in Sacramento, said Greg Volk, Pittser's companion.

He had a strong impact on many of the drama students at the high school, Volk said.

"He enjoyed doing it because he loved to see the spark in their eyes when they learned how to do something new," Volk said. "That was reward enough for him."

Pittser also was the writer and director of "Murder by Design," a murder mystery dinner theater that helped raise money for charities and scholarships, Volk said. The play was performed in Turlock, Modesto and Sacramento to benefit organizations such as the Haven Women's Shelter, as well as students at Turlock and Denair high schools.

Pittser was born in Baldwin Hills on Oct. 30, 1964. He grew up in Southern California, then moved to Merced and Sonora before settling in Turlock in 1981.

He was the retail manager for Turlock Toy and Hobby, the assistant store manager for the Disney Store, and later designed displays and decorations for Macy's in Modesto.

He is survived by Volk of Turlock; son, Adam Volk-Pittser of Turlock; parents, Ken and Ellen Pittser of Turlock; brother, Klint Pittser of Seattle; and sister, Kim Harder of Seattle.

Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Tuesday at Turlock Funeral Home. A funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the chapel, with interment to follow at Turlock Memorial Park.

Remembrances may be made to the Adam Volk-Pittser Scholarship Fund, in care of Golden One Credit Union, 2450 Geer Road, Turlock 95382; or to a favorite charity.
Michele VanNieuwenhuyzen's Eulogy at Funeral Service for Keith  

November 30, 2005


Eulogy for my friend...

I can't tell you when I first met Keith..I can only tell you I always remember being his friend.  When Greg first asked me to speak today, I was honored, humbled, and to be honest, a bit overwhelmed.  I'm not a hold it together type of person in these situations.  I'm a heart worn on my sleeve kind of girl.  I'm not sure that I'll be able to stand up here and tell you all that I want to say about my friend because my heart hurts at the thought that I'll be without him..I was thinking about all that I had to say about the person Keith was, the times we shared together and the friend I knew, but I was also thinking..what am I going to wear, is my make up going to be right, is the lighting going to be postitioned correctly, will the microphone be turned up..all of these things went through my head because I knew Keith would not want it any other way..than perfect.  Any of you who were priveleged enought to work with him, know exactly what I'm talking about.  He was into all of the details.  I hope I can complement him by making sure all of the details are just right as I talk to you about my dear friend.


When I sat down to write this out, a flood of memories came to the surface.  I didn't know how I could clearly convey how special Keith was..I wanted you to know Keith the way I knew him..I wanted you to see the funny, creative, charismatic, emotional and very special person he was.  I didn't know how I was going to give you a glimpse into his life and who he was, but then I realized..you are all here because you knew that special side of him.  You knew the person who worked tirelessly on a bare stage to turn it into something magical and perfect before show time.  You knew the person who took on more than he should have when he was sick because he loved to see the final out come of his work.  You knew the person who got himself into trouble because he talked too much..he was passionate about what he believed in.  You knew the person who devoted so much of his time to working with the students at Turlock High because he wanted so badly for them to succeed.  You knew the person who made you feel special in some way, that's why you are here today.


Now let me share just a few of the things I'll miss about Keith..I'll miss his smile.  He always had a smile when we saw eachother.  I'll miss his laughter.  I hope I will always be able to remember his laugh..it is one of the things I loved most about him.  I 'll miss the rolling of the eyes when he didn't agree with something.  I'll miss saying Greg and Keith because those two names just go together in my vocabulary.  I'll miss his talking with his hands..sometimes those hands said more than you wanted them to.  I will miss drinking coffee with him.  I'll miss hearing about how he found the perfect music, set piece or costume that was going to make the next show.  I'll miss his enthusiasm over a job well done.  I'll miss the pitch in his voice when he got excited about things.  I'll miss his over the top ideas and budget busting plans.  I'll miss saying, "You're going to do what?" when he had a brain storm.  I'll miss his warm eyes..It's the little things I'll miss the most.


I know I'm not the only one who will miss those things.  I know the students whose lives he touched will miss so much about him as well.  About 10 years ago I was working with Greg and Keith on a show called Jack.  The show dealt with some very heavy issues and in true Keith fashion, he was able to share a big piece of himself with the entire cast and educated them.  I remember thinking how brave he was to put himself out there and be so vulnerable.  He gave of himself without thought as to how it would affect him, just knowing that it could do good along the way.  He was always trying to get the most out of those he worked with.  He tackled tough subjects.  He wanted students to see that they could leave an impression with their work.  He wanted them to learn, to improve, to see what hard work could do for them.  He had high expectations of those around him and in doing so, he allowed students to achieve so much.  He believed in them.  I'm sure those of you who worked with him remember a time when he pushed you to be better or do more..maybe at the time you were angry and didn't understand why.  I hope today you can understand it was because he cared so deeply for you all.


Keith always told people we were like brother and sister because we could fight just like that.  We were both strong willed.  But if we disagreed, neither of us could handle it very well.  We were both upset at the thought that we had hurt eachother in some way.  Keith was the type of friend that you could go months without talking to and when you finally got in touch again, it was like no time passed at all.  In fact, I am happy to say that last year after not being in contact for a little while, Keith called me and we fell right back into our comfortable friendship.  I'm so thankful he did call, that we were able to make more memories and work together one last time.  I'm thinking about the void I'll feel when I work on a show this year and don't have Keith to help out with all of the details..I have depended on his ideas, his determination, and his vision on so many things.  I'm so thankful to have had a friend like Keith.  Someone who made me laugh, think, challenge myself, and always believe that I could do more.


When I visited him last week, as he lay in his hospital bed, he was still thinking of others..when Adam and Greg came into the room, he asked for ice cream, not for himself, but for Adam, knowing that was some small getsture he could give.  He had little strength, but he still was able to reach for me to try and give a hug and greeted me by telling me it was good to see me..just as he did every time we saw eachother.  He always made me feel like that, like seeing me was a special occasion.  What a gift to give a friend.  I don't think he ever knew how something like that could leave such a lasting impression.  I only hope that I returned the gift as well..


I want you to remember our friend as I will..full of life, laughing, reaching out to give you a hug, smiling, and finally at peace.  And now, on this special occasion, as we pay tribute to Keith..I also want you to pay tribute in a very out of the ordinary way..our final gift to a partner, father, son, brother, uncle and dear friend...Will you please stand and give Keith his final well deserved, standing ovation.  He will be missed..



And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie  

This classicial murder mystery performed by The Turlock High School Drama Department, November 10 - November 19, 2005 was the final production Keith contributed to.  The following dedication was published in the program for the play, The Turlock High School Clarion newspaper and was featured in The Turlock Journal.


"The cast and crew would like to dedicate this production to Keith Pittser.  Keith put in hundreds of hours of his own time to help make Turlock High School's productions top notch.  His experience in set design, and all technical areas of the theater made our shows stand out above others.  He loved working and teaching young people, and seeing their eyes light up when they discovered something new.  Many people miss him being around, both as a teacher and as a friend."

The Pittser Family would like to thank the staff, and students of Turlock High School for this special dedication.


Murder By Design  


In 1993, because of drastic budget cuts in education, the Turlock High School Drama Department had to become self-supporting.  Murder by Design  was created as a means of raising badly needed funds for the Theater Arts Program, while providing theatrical experience for its students.  In an effort to unite students with the community, many adults were incorporated into Murder by Design ProductionsThis effort provided students and adults an educational opportunity to work with and learn from individuals that could share life experiences.

Murder by Design was unique as all of its productions were original scripts written and designed by co-founder Keith Pittser.  This allowed for each character to be tailored to the actor, and each production to be tailored to the origanization it was written for.  The productions were designed so that the audience became detectives for the evening.  This way everyone in attendance took an active role in the event.  A great deal of of preparation was required for this type of production, but by taking the time he could add a personal touch that other similiar groups could not.

The actors below were part of the cast from one of the first productions of Murder by Design.


The photograph was captured by Keith W. Pittser
February 4, 2006  

Keith's Legacy Lives On

Lenaea Festival 2006

Turlock Journal Newspaper Quote;
Duzan dedicated his performance to Keith Pittser, a techinical adviser for the THS Drama department who died on Thanksgiving of last year.  "The piece really applied to him and everytime I performed it I thought of him,"  Duzan said.


Turlock Journal Newspaper articial Published 2-04-06  
By Sabra Stafford
Turlock Journal Newspaper


THS drama students return with honors from theatre festival


Turlock High's Kandyce Maldonado shows off her award from the Leneaea Theatre Festival in Sacramento.

The Turlock High School Drama Department and four individual students won awards at the Lenaea Theatre Festival in Sacramento last weekend.

Their performance of the one-act play "Tone Cluster" took home one of the three gold awards for Best One-Act Play and the play's techinical crew won the Outstanding Techinical Crew Award.


Turlock High's Bryce Duzan after stage makeup workshop.

Senior Bryce Duzan earned the top prize of the festival, the Robert Smart Spirit of the festival Award for his monologue from "Safe Sex".




Turlock High drama students;
 Jacob McCart (left) and Eric Braojos (right)

Juniors Eric Braojos and Jacob McCart won silver medals for their performance from "Star-Spangled Girl".

"I was very impressed at how well they performed together", said Greg Volk, THS drama teacher. 

Sophomore Kandyce Maldonado won the Most Improved Award in the musical theatre category.  Maldonado was one of only 20 singers invited to perform at the festival according to Volk.  "The award is given to who can best take direction and improve right there on the spot,"  Volk said.

The top award that Duzan won is given to a student whose performance most reflects the talents of the school and the festival said Volk, who was not surprised at Duzan's win.  "He spends the extra time and effort to make his performances exceptional."  Volk said.

Duzan dedicated his performance to Keith Pittser, a techinical adviser for the THS Drama department who died on Thanksgiving of last year.  "The peice really applied to him and everytime I performed it I thought of him,"  Duzan said.


THS Drama 2005-2006

Note:  Congratulations to all of the THS 2005-2006 Drama students ..... and .....Our sincere thank you to Michele VanNieuwenhuyzen, for lighting a candle for Keith, and letting us know about this.
The Pittser Family




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